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Archive for the ‘Universal (-International)’ Category

Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring James Stewart, Ruth Roman, Corinne Calvet, Walter Brennan, John McIntire, Jay C. Flippen, Henry Morgan, Steve Brodie

It’s always a good day when another James Stewart/Anthony Mann movie makes its way to Blu-Ray. Arrow Academy has announced The Far Country (1954) for release this November.

The Far Country was Mann and Stewart’s fourth Western together, and it’s a good one. The cast and crew were well-acquainted and the movie feels like a well-oiled machine. Set in Alaska, though shot in Canada, the picture lets Mann and DP William H. Daniels make the most of the locale in widescreen. Speaking of widescreen, Arrow has promised to give us the movie two ways, in both 1.85 and 2.0 aspect ratios. Universal-International at this time was often using 2.0 — Man Without A Star (1955), Mole People (1956), etc.

Like the other Mann/Stewart Westerns, this one’s essential, folks.

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Directed by Douglas Sirk
Starring Rock Hudson, Barbara Rush, Gregg Palmer, Bart Roberts, Joe Sawyer, Morris Ankrum, Rex Reason

KIno Lorber has announced the upcoming release (early 2020) of Douglas Sirk’s Taza, Son Of Cochise (1954) — restored in 3-D, widescreen and Technicolor by the fine folks at 3-D Film Archive.

It’s so good to see these Universal Westerns making their way to hi-def. Can’t wait for this one.

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Pairing John Wayne and Randolph Scott in the same movie, well, that’s about as good as it gets. Add Marlene Dietrich in there, too, and you can’t miss. It worked well enough with The Spoilers that they did it again less than a year later with Pittsburgh (both 1942). They’re both making their way to Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber. Both are highly recommended.

The Spoilers
Directed by Ray Enright
Starring Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott, John Wayne, Margaret Lindsay, Harry Carey

Rex Beach’s story of the Alaska Gold Rush had been filmed a number of times already when it was turned into a vehicle for Marlene Dietrich, who was a big deal thanks to Destry Rides Again (1939). This version not only has the Dietrich/Scott/Wayne star power going for it, but it boasts one of the greatest saloon brawls in Hollywood history. The story goes that some of Wayne and Scott’s punches are real.

The cinematography by Milton Krasner has always knocked me out on this one, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in high definition. I’m doing a commentary for it, which’ll give me a chance to ramble on about my hero, Randolph Scott.

Pittsburgh
Directed by Lewis Seiler
Starring Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott, John Wayne, Shemp Howard, Paul Fix, Nestor Paiva

This time, Wayne’s a coal miner who wants to make something or himself, no matter who he has to use and toss aside along the way. The cast in this one’s a real winner, with a few of my favorite character actors — Shemp, Paul Fix and Nestor Paiva!

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Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Starring Dana Andrews, Brian Donlevy, Susan Hayward, Patricia Roc, Ward Bond, Hoagy Carmichael, Andy Devine, Lloyd Bridges

Canyon Passage (1946) is a large-scale tale of the Oregon Territory, Jacques Tourneur’s first Western and first color film, was a big hit back in 1946. It’s got a great cast (Ward Bond is terrific) and incredible Technicolor photography from Edward Cronjager, who also shot Lang’s Western Union (1941).

It’s coming to Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber later this year. You can bet it’ll look great.

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Directed by King Vidor
Starring Kirk Douglas, Jeanne Crain, Claire Trevor, William Campbell, Richard Boone, Mara Corday, Jay C. Flippen, Eddy Waller, Sheb Wooley, George Wallace, Roy Barcroft, Paul Birch, Jack Elam, Myron Healey, Jack Ingram

Kino Lorber has announced the upcoming Blu-Ray release of Man Without A Star (1955). That makes two U-I 50s Westerns announced within a week of each other. I’d sure like to see that trend continue.

Kirk Douglas put the movie together through his new production company, and it made him a lot of money. The picture’s got a great cast — look at all those character actors! It was shot by Russell Metty in Technicolor to be cropped to 2.00 to 1, a short-lived standard at Universal (This Island Earth and The Mole People were also 2:1). Highly recommended.

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Directed by Nathan Juran
Starring Ronald Reagan, Dorothy Malone, Preston Foster, Alex Nicol, Ruth Hampton, Russell Johnson, Chubby Johnson, Dennis Weaver, Tom Steele

It’s good to have another 50s Western making its way to Blu-Ray. It’s been a bit of a desert out there. Shout Factory has announced a July release for Nathan Juran’s Law And Order (1953), a solid Technicolor picture from Universal-International. The DVD is quite nice and I’m eager to see how much better Clifford Stine’s gorgeous cinematography comes off in high definition.

Ronald Reagan’s a fed-up lawman who decides to hang up his guns. But you know how those things work out — soon he’s having to strap em back on to settle an old score. Reagan’s cool, Dorothy Malone is beautiful in three-strip Technicolor, and director Nathan Juran settles in for a good run of Westerns at U-I.

I don’t care what your politics are, a Universal 50s Western is coming to Blu-Ray — and that always gets my vote. Recommended.

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VCI Entertainment has announced the upcoming (May) Blu-Ray release of two terrific 15-chapter Buck Jones serials from Universal — The Red Rider (1934) and The Roaring West (1935).

The Red Rider was directed by the prolific Lew Landers. This was one of his first pictures. Buck’s co-stars in this one are Grant Withers and Marion Shilling. As you might expect, Monte Montague’s around, too.

The Roaring West is from director Ray Taylor, who did a number of serials, including The Green Hornet and Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe (both 1940). Early in his long, prolific career, he was an assistant director for John Ford.

Both are sourced from original 35mm fine grain material — and both will feature first-chapter commentaries from yours truly. And if all that’s not enough, they’re bringing out The Vanishing Shadow (1934), too. Boy, am I excited about these.

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